i'm going to try to turn a current game i'm in into a fan fiction. the story will follow a general outline of the game but some events will be added and/or changed. all events are dramatized for your enjoyment. let me know what you think.
part 1: the strange events leading the the issueing of the greater warrent of trade and founding of House Austin.
chapter 1: Children and Mischief
"By the Emperor Liz, you have to go out with us tonight. Everyone will be there!" said a tall young woman
"Rose I couldn't possibly go into the under hive with you. and neither should you. especially to some vermin infested bar of all things." Liz responded.
"OH Liz it's not the under hive, maybe the middle hive, the upper part of the middle hive. And no one will know who we are. they never have before. besides Victer is going to be there. Please, you just have to go slumming with us!"
"Oh, fine i'll go but my father had better never find out." Liz warned.
"our parents haven't caught us yet have they? Relax it's just a few hours and mine and your dad will be busy all night. no one will ever know. all of us do it." Rose smiled and called her servants in to start getting them ready.
(A bit later) "M'lord governor, the Lord Admiral's and your daughters have just left for that bar in the middle hive. the security detail is already there and operatives are watching them on their way in."
"Thank you, make sure they don't leave for some other rat hole. Keep them safe and don't let them know you are there. if they think us parents are letting them get away with this they will just find something more dangerous to do."
"Are you sure this is safe Marius? letting them run around with the savages down there?" Asked rugged man in the uniform of a lord admiral.
"It's safe. The families helped funnel more gelt into law enforcement down there. we also keep a few guardsmen "undercover" to head off problems. relax it's just children having a bit of fun rebelling against their stogie old parents." replied the sector governor.
(somewhere in the under hive of hive Sibellus) "Ok boys, we've been planning this for months. tonights the night. We go in, kill the guards, and snatch the kids. then we'll be living the high life on some pleasure world. And remember if we fail you get to explain why to the boss. he said he would send some reinforcements to us tonight. don't know what that could be, just hope they know friend from foe!" the thug looked around at the scum, thugs, and mutants he had assembled for this job. Gods he hoped nothing went wrong. none of them were known for their mercy.
(in the office of the senior magos of hive Sibellus) “Magos Tallus, your performance in the past few months has been unacceptable. In this facility i expect my people to act a certain way, and to solve problems a certain way. You however seem not to have noticed that the Adeptus Mechanicus runs on strict traditions. Your research into archeotech is commendable, but your fascination with alien artifacts is frankly disturbing. In light of these problems you are being reassigned as soon as possible to anywhere but here. Please pack your things and await further orders.” Magos Tallus nodded sadly and exited the office to pack his things and then went for a drink.
chapter 2: boozes and bolters
Lieutenant Thomas “Blade” Austin sat at the bar of the Emperor's Glass with his two best friends. Ensign Leah Cowel and Ensign Ross Holt. Austin was a junior tactical officer for the emperor class battleship Absolution. Leah was assigned to the quartermaster’s office and Ross was a gunners mate. They had been assigned straight from the academy. They were on shore leave while the lord admiral dealt with a few problems with the governor. Blade watched as a young tech priest took a stool next to ross and ordered a drink.
“Hey guys, So a inquisitor, a rogue trader, and a space marine walk into a bar.... stop me if you’ve heard this one.” Ross joked.
“Stop we’ve heard them all a dozen times from you. They weren’t funny the first time you told them either.” Leah griped “have either of you noticed that there is something funny about half of the people in here? If I didn’t know better I’d say they were nobles.”
“Yeah like a noble would be caught dead in this dive. It’s not the backside of Port Wander but there’s no perfume and fine amsac.” Austin laughed.
“Maybe but unless I miss my guess that looks like Igraine Armengarde. what do you think she’s doing down here?” Leah asked.
“She’s a Rogue Trader’s scion. She’s probably practicing for when she gets the warrant.” Ross quipped. “Would you look at those two girls dancing over there. One looks like the admiral’s girl......... and that guy over there looks like a guardsman in a workmans coat. Maybe Leah is on to something.”
Blade glanced around, there seemed to be a few dozen young men and women dancing and drinking. Several other patrons looked much rougher, career soldiers. The rest of the patrons seemed normal enough except for the ratling in the corner watching everything. There was one of those in every bar. As Blade watched the small man activated a vox caster and spoke briefly into it. Blade got a itchy feeling between his shoulders. “guys we might be in for some trouble.”
The magos next to Ross stiffened and spun around. “You may be right sailor. I’m picking up some strange vox signals.” he turned to the door just as a ogryn burst through with a heavy bolter and turned one of the soldiers into bloody mist.
The three friends dove over the bar soon followed by the magos who landed on Ross. Blade peeked over the bar to see underhivers and mutants pouring in and battling with the guards. and a few patrons. most of the kids were cowering under tables and by walls. Blade drew his navy pistol and shot one of the raiders sending him to the floor screaming then ducking down when the shot drew a burst from an autogun.
"Ge'of'me" Ross said as the magos crawled off of him. "what the hell is going on out there?" he peeked over and shot into the ogryn to little effect, before dropping back down. "Ok i know my jokes are bad but this is overkill."
"I think these men are after the scions of the noble families here. the vox traffic is chaotic but it sounds like they are not to be harmed. they want the rest of us dead. i think." he pulled his Inferno pistol "I'm tech priest Tallus and i don't plan on going down without a fight."
"Blade, Leah, Ross." Blade said as he pointed to each in turn. "either he has the right idea or one of you can explain to the Lord Admiral why we let scum take his daughter." Blade drew his service saber and took a deep breath. listening he could tell the battle was winding down inside but outside it was still raging. jumping up he blew a hole in a mutants face and opened the closest scum's belly. Ross and Leah followed him over ross blazeing away at the ogryn with a pump shotgun found under the bar and Leah double fisting both Ross and her pistols. killing a trio of raiders. finally the magos poped up from behind the bar and shot at the ogryn hitting the magazine on its bolter. the explosion blew both arms off at the elbow.
the fight outside was intensifying. something was coming and the fire was getting louder. inside all the guards were down and any of the staff or patrons that fought back were either dead of unconscious. seven raiders remained inside. four fired at Tallus he took three las hits severing his arm. he fell behind the bar screaming. two more fired on Ross, one punching a bullet through his leg the other pined his shoulder to the bar with a crossbow bolt. the final one shot Leah in the belly with a revolver. she went down clenching her teeth.
Blade seeing his friends go down burst into action. "FOR THE EMPEROR AND ASCENSION!!" he shouted as he shot one raider through the chest while slashing another open and running a third through. spinning fast he saw the crossbowman with a knife go down under Leah's pistols and another raider get shot through the eye by Ross with his hold out las pistol. The Action outside had risen to a fever pitch "KILL THEM!! KILL THEM!!" men screamed in fear as the sounds of rending flesh and maniacal laughter drifted in.
the final two raiders tried to run but as they reached the door they were each caught by a massive claw. Ross tried to shoot the demonette as she came in but was buried under the two dead raiders as she threw them at him. "this party isn't over yet." she hissed. the kids that were still able bolted away from the horror. others screamed in terror and tried to crawl away. the sounds from outside were quieting down, the his of demons drawing closer. Blade steeled himself and sent a prayer to the emperor. leading with his pistol he fired and charged the demon while Leah struggled to her feet. firing the gun dry just before he reached her, he slashed with his saber. parrying it with a claw she backhanded him across the room and over the bar. he heard leah screaming and her pistols roaring then her scream and the sound of rending flesh. looking over the bar the demon was standing over Leah holding her leg severed at the knee in a claw. looking around Blade saw the magos out cold and his arm still holding his inferno pistol. prying the fingers off the gun he rolled back over the bar as the demon started eating Leah's leg infroant of her. screaming a prayer and firing the pistol into the things back, the first shot turned one claw into a smoking ruin. the next vaporizing it's leg at the knee. the third took it in the chest. and finally shooting it in the head, the skull exploding as it's brain was turned to steam. "AMEN" Blade shouted with the last shot. hearing the door swing open again he turned and fired blindly. "YOU SHALL NOT HAVE THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN FOUL SCUM!!! COME FACE THE WRATH OF THE TRUE GOD SO I CAN BESTOW HIS MERCY UPON YOU!!!" he challenged.
"In the name of the God Emperor stand down soldier. we've come to help. Is the Admiral's daughter ok?" a captain in storm trooper uniform asked as he edged in. "call for medicea personnel, we have wounded." Blade stared at the captain still pointing the pistol. "Easy now son. just give me the gun. we won't hurt you." he eased forward. letting the captain take the gun he felt a stick in his back then everything went black.
chapter 3: Inquisitors and Nobles
Blade awoke tied to a chair with a splitting headache and a light shining in his eyes. "Lt. Thomas Austin, I am Inquisitor Galius Hink. I want you to tell me exactly why you were at the Emperor's Glass and what happened there." Blade took a deep breath and started to recount his tail. he hoped he hadn't been tainted but accepted it as service to the emperor.
the next six weeks as close as he could tell passed with him being treated well and told nothing. he would be interrogated and tested for corruption, but no one talked to him more than necessary. finally inquisitor Hink entered his cell with a servator carrying a chair. after he dismissed the servator, he sat and addressed Blade. "Lt. Austin, I have some good news you have been deemed not corrupted by the ruinous powers. Normally i would ask you to join the Inquisition, however I beleave the nobility of Sibellus and the Lord Admiral have something else in store for you. you will also be pleased to know that your three friends survived aswell and will be released today with you. Now i have other duties to attend to. Good Day and Emperor bless you." Stunned Blade watched him get up and walk out. a young woman entered as soon as he cleared the door. "If you would follow me sir?" and walked out without waiting. blade followed her to a gun cutter and sat his friends soon joined him their severed limbs replaced with exquisite auguments.
"Leah, Ross; you survived. i thought you might have been cleansed. It's good to see you too magos." Blade said.
"Good to see you to Blade. i thought they were never going to let me out." said Ross
"I'm suprised they didn't kill you from annoyance. Guess the Emperor doesn't answer every prayer." Leah said
"It is good to know you all survived. I thought I was going to die, but the Omnissiah has seen to bless me by bring me closer to the holy machine." Tallus said.
the cutter started and lifted off. "we will be to the spire shortly, you will be met by a servator that will lead you to quarters where you will be dressed for the ceremony." came over the vox from the pilot."
"Ceremony? what ceremony?" Ross asked looking around.
"i guess we will find out when we get there." replied Leah after a moment.
they soon found themselves in rooms and swarmed by servants. soon they were dressed and wisked away to a grand feast hall. "Announcing Lt. Thomas Austin, Magos Tallus Dorwin, Ensign Leah Corwel, and Ensign Ross Holt." As they were announced the hall went quiet then exploded into cheers and clapping. the governor and Lord admiral descended on them. "You have no idea what a service you have done the sector." said the governor as the admiral exclaimed "Lt. you saved my entire line." They were passed from hand to hand, navigators, administors, Rogue traders, and many others all thanking them for saving their children.
By the time Blade reached the front of the room and the balcony his head was spinning. finding himself face to face with the governor and admiral again. "Lt. Austin, you are released from service of the navy. you have our blessings on your future endeavors." anounced the Lord Admiral. "And it is my pleasure to bestow upon you this Greater Warrant of Trade to serve the God Emperor beyond the edges of the Imperium."
Stunned, Blade stared at the governor mouth hanging open. slowly he turned tolook at the smileing admirel. "Close your mouth son and smile for the crowd." the admirel wispered. doing as he said Blade allowed himself be drawn back down and to a seat. Looking over the warrent, he saw he was exempt from many of the laws even the highest nobles were held to. phrases like "may associate and trade with xenos terribelus" , "letter of marque from the imperal navy" "exemption from corruption assement after engagements with ruinous powers" and "may recieve repairs from navel instalations for reasonable rates" jumped out at him as he read. "You also have a tyrant class cruiser waiting for you at Het, when you get around to traveling there to claim it. just don't miss the part at the end of it." the admirel said as he watched Blade. Blade turned to the back to find "every 15 solar years tithe in the amount of 15% of all income to this dynasity is to be paid to the imperium. also the dynasity is required to provide 100,000 troops to the empire during every 15 year period."
"Sir, this is all happening a bit fast. I'm going to need a crew for my ship, and ........ that sounds so strange, My Ship, this morning i thought i was going to die. now i own a crusier! there is just so much to do." Blade exclaimed to the admirel.
"Well, most of the crew is already aboard, drawn from the best in the battlefleet. You just need a few senior officers and your friends should be able to fit most of those positions. there is also a couple officers already onboard that you should find useful. you will also be receiving several gifts from the other guests here that you should find helpful. As for the ship, it was intended for my daughter's first command. however she is going to be recovering with the minastrotum for several years before she will be fit for service if ever. relax and enjoy the feast.
Blade made small talk with the admirel and governor during the meal, learning several things. shortly after the best dessert he had ever tasted the guests started anoucing their gifts to his new house
"As the sector govenor i give to house Austin a regament of our elite infintry to be dismissed from imperial service and to become their new house guard. The Trader's Blades."
"As repersenative of the imperial navy i give you a elite detachment of stormtroopers from my flagship. and in personal thanks i give you the last known coordinates of the Rightous Path. they will be waiting for you at Port Wander."
"The navagator house of Tambos gifts to you our collection of starcharts of the kronous expanse."
"on behalf of the inquisition we will give you twenty thunderhawk guncutters, to more easily defend aggainst the enemies of the imperium."
on and on the the thanks of different houses and organizations flowed in. each more extravagent than the last. the rest of the night was a blur of handshakes and congratulations. finally he worked his way around to his friends.
"Well the hero of the hour finds his way to us. congratulations." ross joked drunkenly
"Yes, i need a bridge crew and was hopeing you might know a gunner and first mate that might need a job. i need a engenseer prime too. for a tyrant class cruiser."
"AHHHH, DAMN YOU!!!" Leah exclaimed as Ross sprayed her with a mouthful of drink.
"They gave you a full CRUISER!! and you want me to be your gunner? Hell yes I'll join up." Ross said.
"If i take the job can i kick him out an airlock? what the hell I'm game. how many grades would that jump me up, Lord Captain?" she smiled.
"If i'm not mistaken, I know the ship you are refering to. If you are serious about the position of engenseer prime i do ofcourse accept. we sould sit down sometime tomarrow and talk about outfiting it to your specifications. i have several thoughts about some improvements to make to the ship." Tallus said.
"I think that would be a good idea. I got the impression that it was already well equiped." Blade responded.
"Oh, i don't doubt it was. however a tradeing vessel is much different than a warship, and a rogue trader vessel is more different still. there are certain components that I can obtain for you that would greatly improve the capabilities of your ship. Though some of it is xeno designs."
"I'll have to think about that, i have to go now before i insult someone by not shakeing their hand." Blade angled away from his friends only to be intercepted by Igraine Armengarde.
"I haven't had the opportunity to thank you for saveing me. Walk with me and tell me what happened after i was knocked out." she smiled and took his arm. He fell into her eyes and spent the rest of the night with her on his arm, until he woke the next morning in her bed.
in the next few weeks Blade discussed the design of his ship with Tallus. deciding against xeno tech, he had several changes made freeing up and re filling space with holds and other things not needed by a warship but useful to a trader. after the design was settled on he sent the tech priest ahead to oversee the changes. many of the gifts were sent with him like the troops and storm troopers. most of his days were spent learning high society and settling his affairs. he continued his relationship with Ingraine but was aware that it would last only as long as he stayed on planet. after about a year word arrived that the Trader's Fortune was ready for her voyage. After a last memorable night he left for Het to claim his ship.
chapter 4: the good news and the bad news.
The cobra class destroyer exited warp along the outskirts of the lathe system. even from here the massive stations were visible. Blade had only been here once, but it was still amazing. the Vox burst to life as it picked up different transmissions, none of them understandable. "Sir, we are being hailed. system defense wants our registry and purpose for being here." reported the vox officer. "Record. we are dropping off the rogue trader Thomas Austin to take possession of the tyrant class cruiser Trader's Fortune. permission to continue in system? attach the registry and transmit." the captain responded. "aye sir!" the young officer bent to his task and moments later instructed the captain they were cleared to move in system. Blade tried to maintain his composer while they moved past the different stations and shipyards. the tiny cobra a minnow among leviathans. finally they started to approach the deadly form of an imperial cruiser.
"well Lord captain, there she is." the captain said with envy in his voice.
Blade was transfixed. "yes there she is." he replied softly. this was his. this massive vessel.
"OOOOOO BOY!!!! look at that. a full mars broadside, backed up with a hecutor plasma battery and a sunhammer lance......NO a lance BATTERY!!! I love my new toys." exclaimed Ross from beside him.
"You know the airlock is still an option sir." Leah replied in a distracted voice, her heart not really in the comeback.
"Lord captain it has been a pleasure having aboard, at your convenience i will have you taken across to your ship." the captain said.
"Thank you captain. I'm not sure of the accommodations yet aboard the Fortune, but i would be honored if you and your senior staff would join me and my staff for a formal dinner this evening. It may only be space rations but....... I'll just have to see what condition the ship is in first." Blade responded
"we would be delighted to. you never know how a command will turn out until you actually get aboard." the captain replied and saluted
returning the salute, blade turned with his officers and headed for the boat bay. after being carried across Blade stepped off the guncutter and looked around. he had intentionally not told the ship he was arriving. the personnel were busy and professional, none seemed to be slacking on the job. he drew a few stray looks from the workers but none paid much attention to him or his companions. "Who in the twenty-three hells of iniquity are you?" shouted a hard eyed bay officer. "You are in the middle of my work area and slowing everything down. Well speak or are you for the Gun crew?"
Ross started forward his hand on his new bolt pistol. Blade grabbed his shoulder and held him back. the bay had gone quiet as the workers stopped working and many had picked up pipes and wrenches. looking around at the faces Blade spoke calmly. "I am Thomas "Blade" Austin, warrant holder of the Warrant of Trade of House Austin. you can call me Lord Captain....." he took a moment to examine the rank bars on the work uniform of the officer "lieutenant!" he looked around at the suddenly uncomfortable crewmen, then back at the LT who had turned several shades of grey. he started to speak but Blade held up a hand. "Your boat bay seems to be in excellent working order and you challenged strangers in a timely manner, my only complaint is your greeting to new arrivals. tone down the belligerence a bit. otherwise you preformed admirably. carry on." Blade turned and walked away from the shaking officer and headed for a passageway he hoped would carry him to the bridge.
The admiral seemed as good as his word. everywhere Blade looked he saw a professional crew. unlike many ships, there were no slackers and layabouts trying to dodge their crew bosses and officers. the crew seemed content. after a few wrong turns and several challenges Blade found the bridge. upon entering he was challenged. "Name, rating and purpose for being on the bridge?" a young midshipman asked as he entered.
"Blade Austin, Lord Captain, and....."
"CAPTAIN ON DECK!!!!" the young man bellowed snapping to attention. a wave of the same followed from him as the bridge crew stood and saluted.
"to take control of the ship." Blade finished. "As you were." he stated loudly. "From now on son, don't announce me unless it's a formal occasional. it's disruptive to the crew."
"Yes sir" he said sheepishly.
Blade turned as another officer came hurrying up to him. "Commander Young Sir. uh..... I'm the current ranking bridge officer."
"Understood. Commander Young, I have the bridge." Blade replied formally
"You have the bridge, Understood sir." Young responded.
Motioning him to follow blade started toward the command throne. Ross drifted off to the gunnery stations. and Leah followed him. "This is my executive officer Leah Cowel and that is my master gunner Ross Holt. Is the Enginseer Prime onboard?"
"yes sir. working on the drives i believe."
"have him informed that there is a formal dinner tonight. have the rest of the senior officers informed as well."
"yes sir." he responded as he scurried off.
arriving at the command throne Blade ran a finger down the arm, walking around it. admiring the fine craftsmanship. finally sitting down, it felt good, it felt right.
"Master of the vox, all hands transmission."
"Sir!! ALL HANDS NOW HEAR THIS!! ALL HANDS NOW HEAR THIS!!!"
"This is the Lord-captain speaking. i formally take charge and possession of this vessel in the name of house Austin. in the next few days we will be headed for Port Wander and Beyond. If you serve me well you will be rewarded. Remember your hard work brings glory to house Austin and the God Emperor,...... and to yourselves. emperor bless us all. that is all." Blade leaned back and smiled. this would be the start of a excellent career.
Blade concerned himself with getting to know his ship for the rest of the day. having commander young report the recent events. the most notable event was meeting master at arms Galen Neiler. originally an officer in the imperial guard he had transferred with the Trader's Blades. he would be a useful man to keep around and Blade liked the gruff Guardsman. to Blades delight the kitchens were staffed with excellent cooks. and the feast he had planned came along nicely. the head cook complained about time but managed to have a wonderful meal prepared. that night Blade met his guests in the boat bay and escorted them to the dining hall to meet his staff.
"Lord captain you have a magnificent ship." the captain commented.
"Thank you, captain. i was pleasantly surprised that it was in such excellent condition when i arrived. i have my officers and especially my engenseer to thank for that." Blade responded.
"It's a good thing it's in such condition. i was looking over the books and we are quickly going broke." Leah said.
"I know. i intend to get under way tomorrow for Port Wander to pick up those Coordinates. That should balance the books a bit. getting started is always the hardest." Blade responded.
Navigator Hessen spoke up. "it shouldn't take too long to arrive there. 20 days at most, assuming that nothing untoward happens."
"Yes that is always disturbing." the captain said as most around the table shuddered. The dinner continued on a lighter note for the rest of the evening. finally retiring to his quarters for the following day.
The next day the Trader's Fortune slipped her mooring and headed for the systems edge. Navigator Hessen made his calculations on the trip out and shook his head. six months was an absurd amount of time to travel a few days. shrugging he went ahead with his rituals. he had no trouble location the astronomican or charting a course. all seemed clear. the Fortune slipped effortlessly into the warp.
Tallus was reciting the daily prayers to the machine spirits of the void shields when he heard some of his fellow tech priests panicing. "The geller field, it's weakening." "help me, OH Great..." "Omnissiah Save us." He rushed in to see what was happening. seeing the young magos working and praying furiously. he started barking orders, bringing order to the chaos. slowly he brought a measure of calm. The "OH GOD IT'S OVERLOADING!!! IT'S COMING DOWN!!!" one yelled. Talllus gave a silent prayer to the machine god and thanked him for the time he got to serve.
the fuses blew as the geller field overloaded and got critically low as it drained it's capacitors. several of the magos were crying, chaos could be heard on the ship as the low born crew that were close enough to know what was happening paniced. With a final spark the gauge dropped to zero. then sprang back to full power as the emergency system kicked in, throwing the shield back up just before it developed any holes for the waiting deamons to slip through. Tallus nearly passed out in relief. several of the magos had or were sobbing their thanks. the officers slowly brought the crew back under control. the Vox burst to life asking what had just happened and wanting a report. Tallus climbed to his feet and went to answer.
the next day the Fortune slipped out of the warp on the edge of the Rubycon II system. vox traffic started almost instantly. Port Wander sat only a few hundred thousand kilometers away. it was quickly established that it had been only twenty-one days since they had left the lathes. "Navigator, i thought you meant 20 warp days, not 20 real space days when you gave your guess at the feast. it barely took 2 days in the warp. good work." Blade congratulated his navigator.
"Ummm sir, I did mean 20 days warp time when i gave that estimate. I'm not sure how we arrived so soon. the starcharts you provided cut a few days off, but we should have been in the warp for much longer."
"Thank you for your honesty, but just the same good work." Blade replied. "Pilot take us in to dock. we have business to attend to."
As they were coming in to dock, blade read over the different vox messages. they were all pretty standard. i seemed the navy was sending a midshipman to deliver the "package" to him in the gelt processional. calling the master at arms Blade asked him to accompany them. Ross, Leah, and Tallus decided to come along as well with Tallus's new lathe pattern murder servitor. after takeing care of a few details at the dock, they set off to find one midshipman Dray. arriving at the location they spotted the young officer.
"midshipman Dray I presume. you have something for me?" Blade asked.
"Um yes. here it is." he handed over a small gene coded casket. "i hear it has information about the Righteous Path. that would be quite a haul." he exclaimed.
"yes it would." Blade said absently as he opened the case and reached in. as he drew it out a psy-raven swooped down and snatched the small data crystal. Ross as quick as ever drew his bold pistol and shot the mechanical creature. dropping the crystal it tried to fly away. Blade drew his plasma pistol and blew the things wing off "killing" it. the crowd had started to panic with the sounds of gunfire, when several other men started shooting. the first wave of bullets tore poor Dray apart. returning fire Tallus and Galen targeted one of the attackers. both the hellgun and the bolt pistol finding their targets. but not putting the man down. the murder servitor waded into the crowd toward the nearest gunman having trouble getting through the crowd. leah had dived for and recovered the crystal when it fell and climbed back to her feet before diving for cover.
the gunmen shifted their fire to Galen and the hulking servitor. they cut down several innocents in the crowd but didn't accomplish much. the return fire was almost as poorly aimed. Galen, Tallus, and Blade all hit the fleeing people, causing even more panic. the servitor reached it's prey and promptly ripped him apart with talons and viscerator blade. Leah was still struggling to reach cover, while Ross lined up his shot and put down the wounded gunman.
having seen the destructive power of the servitor the remaining gunmen focused on it. their shells bouncing off it's armor plating or simply being ignored by the mind wiped machine as it headed for the next victim. the crowd was starting to clear by that point and all five companions firing on a single gunman killing him instantly.
seeing their numbers dwindle the remaining two decided to run. the closest one to the servitor was too slow and was ripped limb from limb by the beast. the other ran right into the arms of the arriving arbites. surrendering he dropped his gun as Blade and his crew stepped from behind their cover.
this Chapter should have started with the arrival. but Chapter 5: bolters and books.
With the arrival of the arbitors Blade stepped out from behind the corner he had been using as cover. "About time you got here. is it normal for citizens to be attacked in the streets or for navy officers to be killed in the street?" looking around Blade saw 3 crewmen from the fortune. "you three search those scum and take everything of worth back to the ship. you can keep any gelt they have on them but make sure their gear gets to the armory!" He watched as they hopped to their duty.
"I'm arbitrator-sargent Targos, and yes this is a fairly common event Trader..........."
"Austin, Blade Austin. any idea who these bilgerats are? or why they were attacking me?"
"if you and your companions would accompany me to the precinct we might be able to identify them. as for why, a person usually knows why they are being attacked if they think about it." Targos responded.
"we'll tag along for now. see what you can tell us." Blade responded. He watched as the dead were cleared away and the troop got underway. arriving at the precinct the prisoner was interrogated. it was soon found he was working for the Fel dynasty, and was a crewman of the Fel Hand, Hadarak Fel's ship. it was also useless to ask the authorities to pursue the case. Like Blade, Fel was almost immune to the law. especially this close to the edge of the imperium.
Leaving Blade returned to his ship to have the psy crystal read. it showed him a system but not where that system was. knowing almost nothing about the Koronus expanse, he first tried to get help from the navy.
"You may be some hot shot back in what ever rat hole planet you call home, but out here you are just another Rogue trader that is about to go under. get out of my office and quit bothering me." the Lt. behind the desk stated, dismissing Blade as if he were common rabble. his house might be poor at the moment, but he would see to it that changed. and when it did the navy would be happy to help him. storming out of the office he joined back up with his four companions, Still ranting and cursing the Lt.
"No go?" Leah asked.
"The little Grox they have working here barely even spoke to me. if i knew it wouldn't make matters worse, i'd boot him out an air lock." Blade growled.
"You want me to start asking around about that location?" Galen asked.
"Better yet how about we ask around about SOMEONE that might know the expanse better than we do. no need to let everyone know where we are headed. just that we are looking for a specific place in the expanse." Leah suggested.
"That sounds like a better plan." Blade said. "You and Galen would be the best at that. why don't you two ask around about that guide, we'll head back to the ship and get ready to depart.
several hours later Leah and galen returned with a name and an address. Magnate Scrivener Journ, in the chambers of gold. following them there they entered the shop filled with books and charts. they were greeted by a small man with ink stained hands, and several mechadendrites.
"Good evening gentlemen, lady. I am magnate Journ. how can i help you?"
"We are looking for a chart to a specific system in the expanse. we need someone with some discretion in this matter aswell." Blade responded.
"I may have what you are looking for, and all my transactions are discreet. which system are you looking for exactly?" Journ asked.
Blade described the system in detail. and asked if there were any charts to the place.
"Ah yes I have a chart that will lead you to Magoros. not many would know the place." Journ said.
"and how much do you want for the chart?" Blade asked in a guarded tone. rare usually meant expensive.
"Not a single throne. you are going through the Maw. I need a small package delivered to a friend in footfall. Do we have a deal?" Journ asked with a smile.
"And exactly what is in this package. you could obviously get quite a bit of money for this chart, why just a delivery mission?" Leah asked.
Grimacing Journ replied. "these are some text that while not heretical, they are barely legal. they are quite rare and i would not see them destroyed. so will you see them safely to footfall for the chart."
Blade smiled and stuck out his hand. "We'd be happy to." taking the books and chart they returned to the ship. as soon as he arrived on the bridge he summoned several scribes. "have these books copied. you have until we reach Footfall. i want at least 1 copy of each."
"Is that wise?" Leah asked "the church is not a organization you want to anger."
"Rare is almost always valuable. I'm sure i can find a buyer somewhere for them, and not get caught selling them. besides i'd like a chance to see what they say. could find some clues to something else." Blade smiled as they pulled out of port.
Chapter 6: Risks and Reavers
They entered the warp again headed for the battleground. it made a easy way station to give the crew a rest from the warp. after a few hours of travel the navigator sounded an alarm. "Lord-Captain, there is a rough patch of the warp ahead. It may dissipate on it's own or we can try to push through. I don't think it will breach out Geller Field, but i'm not certain."
"Fel is several hours ahead of us. and my already know where the "Path" is. push trough." Blade responded. He watched as the pilot and navigator worked together. the Fortune shuddered as the warp eddys slammed into the geller field. the pilot frantically made course changes as the navigator barked orders to him. one slow correction and the ship rocked as it was smashed by a energy wave. Blade gripped the arms of his throne. Had he made the right decision? the turbulence continued for around an hour, the crew getting more and more uneasy. when they finally reached the other side the ship calmed and sailed true.
"Good job men." Blade commended the two exhausted men.
Two days later they exited the warp at the battleground. immediately the proximity alarm blared. through the front view port the armored prow os a grand cruiser loomed barely 3 kilometers away. In near panic the pilot tried to steer clear. Blade gripped the arms of his throne and leaned back as if that little space might help. the Fortune turned slowly and tilted as it tried to avoid the massive ship headed for them. Ross frantically fired the lance battery into the behemoth to no effect. there was a crash and the whole ship jumped, as the massive prow hit the port wing.
"Damage report." Blade barked into his vox to damage control.
"Preliminary reports say the Armor held. no damage reported yet." Came the response.
"SIR, look!" one of the bridge officers exclaimed. The front view port was clear. they should have been passing a massive ship but it wasn't there. in one of the external auspex screens showed what they had hit. The armored prow, and only the prow, of some long destroyed ship.
"Well isn't that a warm welcome." Blade said dryly.
"Sir, i'm picking up a salvation beacon. it's somewhere close." the vox officer reported.
"Find it." Blade responded. auger array crews started looking for the source and soon found it. a half destroyed transport. "All right people, that doesn't look like an accident. someone blew a hole clean through that ship. if they are still around i want us ready. bring the crew to battle stations and get us closer to her. keep your eyes open."
The Fortune eased closer to the crippled ship. When they reached a few thousand kilometers the auger arrays screamed as something close lit off it's drive and promptly hit and latched onto the hull. the lights flickered and and the ship slowed.
"I've just lost almost all thrust." "vox is almost completely down." "power is fluctuating across the board." Augers Report four new contacts." the reports continued to roll in.
"Sir i think i am receiving a transmission. and engenseer prime Tallus reports he and some of his people are going to remove whatever hit us." the vox officer reported.
"Good, maybe he can get that thing off. let me hear the message." Blade responded.
"s...... from th...... ip. no.......af........ ours."
"What the hell was that?" Blade asked.
"Unidentified raider squadron is powering up weapons. They're firing!! They're firing!!" the Auger officer reported. The ship shook as the massive shells and lasers slammed into the shields, all three went down and the capacitors threw them back up and down they went again, a single fragment finding it's way through and slicing through an Auger array power cable and punching a hole into a access hatch.
"Auger's hit, We're half blind." the auger officer exclaimed in half panic.
"Return fire! We have the best gunner I've ever seen. we can still knock out a few teeth. and tell Tallus to forget that device. it's drawing energy from the drives and vox, but it's not hurting us yet. have him fix the augers." Blade barked the orders.
"Glad you have faith in me boss." Ross grinned, "hope your faith wasn't misplaced." he lined up his shots on the lead ship, mostly on gut instinct. "Fire macrocannons!!" he called and the ship shuddered as the massive shells and plasma flew from the ship. hell blossomed around the four small ships. "I think i stripped her shields but most of it missed. Fire Lance Battery!!" the twin beams of energy stabbed out. one narrowly missing the other tearing deep into the lead ship. "I got a piece of her that time." Ross said proudly.
"The Augers are coming back up." a officer reported.
they had moved slowly forward and turned to meat their attackers. however the fast little ships cut behind the fortune and came around hard unleashing another barrage of fire. less accurate than before due to their drastic course change they barely striped the shields, however the massive amount of energy coupled with the leech mine attached to the hull caused a power surge to fly through the system blowing out the augers again.
"Emperor's curses!!! there down again" the auger officer cursed.
"Not again!" Ross complained.
"Bring her about and fire again." Blade instructed as he personally guided the pilot to make the course change. the fortune was slow but responded like the warrior she was. swing around to bring her broadside to bare.
"Fire Macrocannons!!" Ross ordered as he brought the squadron in his sights. again hab sized shells and bolts of star stuff flew from the flank of the fortune and tore at the enemy. "Missed, how could have i missed with all of that. Fire lance battery!" the twin bolts flew away one expending itself on the shield the other punching into the lead raider again. It slowed to a crawl venting air and trailing bodies and scraped hull plating. "I miss with the cannons but i can hit it with the lances. figures." Ross complained.
the three undamaged raiders left their crippled companion behind as they cut behind the Fortune again and swung around. firing again their shells and lasers turned a chunk of wrecked starship into scrap metal as it drifted into their path. The crippled ship tried to fire as well but never came close to hitting their target.
"The tech priests have fixed the augers again, and we are locked on to the lead ship." reported Leah
"Understood." Blade responded as he observed the pilot brining the fortune around for another fireing run on the squadron.
"About time." Ross gripped. Lets see if my shooting can improve when i'm not half blind. Fire macrocannons!!" the ship shuddered as the massive guns fired. the shells and plasma blowing threw the shield and tearing into the small ship. it shrugged off the damage and kept coming but badly dammaged. "Now thats more like it. Fire Lance Battery!!" the lances spat out their high energy death and punched into the hurt ship. surges flowed threw the ship blowing fuses and it shut down. it's drive fluttering and it's machine spirit not responding it drifted through space crippled and helpless.
not giving up the squadron yet again left one of it's own behind and tarted behind the Fortune. Fireing again they stripped the shields again from the Fortune, but failed to do any damage.
again coming around for a firing solution the Fortune got into position to rain death. "Fire macrocannons!!" Ross ordered spreading his fire over both ships. both ships shook with explosions the closest taking the brunt of the attack. "Fire Lance Battery!!" The lances fired and were again scattered over both ships. one punching through the Auger array of the lead ship, blinding it. the other raked the last ship. one crippled and blind the other badly damaged the limped along.
The lights brightened and the Fortune leapt forward. "The Enginseer is reporting he has detached the limplet mine." the vox officer reported. "the Voxes seem to be working again too."
"Contact the enemy commander. i want to talk to him about the future of his ships." Blade smiled wolfishly and the bridge crew chuckled knowing they could destroy all four ships before they could escape if they didn't surrender.
"you have a channel to the command ship Sir" the vox officer reported.
"Commander you will surrender or i will continue to fire on your vessels until they are no longer a threat to me and my ship........ permanently!" Blade growled into the vox.
"This is Commander Lain of the raider "Catch Net" and commander of Hunter Squadron. we formally surrender to you and ask for your mercy." came the response.
"Have your ships power down their drives and do not resist my boarders. resistance will be met with violence." Blade responded.
"Captain I need to talk with you as soon as possible. do not enter that transport. you don't understand what you are dealing with." Commander Lain responded.
"Then I'll have you ferried over so you can explain it to me. my men will be over shortly." Blade said, cutting off the vox. "Galen, see to the boarding of those ships and bring Commander Lain and the Captains to me. I will be in my study." Blade walked into his office and shut the door. relaxing he almost hit the floor as he leaned against the door. he had commanded his ship and won his first combat with her. against four opponents no less. his nerves were shot. he began trying to pull himself together. he couldn't afford to show these pirates and weakness.
Commander Lain and the three other captains were brought before Blades desk by several large guardsmen.
"Gentlemen, do you know what the punishment for piracy is?.................... Spaceing or worse, a penal colony. Give me one good reason i shouldn't send you to one or the other?" Blade asked.
"Because we're not pirates." responded Lain. "We're Beast House operatives trying to regain our properity that you were trying to steal , or more likely get eaten or subverted by it."
"So hitting my ship with a mine and firing on it was all just a misunderstanding?" Blade asked sarcastically.
"Maybe i should explain. we were suppose to pick up a shipment of creatures called Genestealers and other creatures from around Port Wander. The transport was to unload the cargo and then carry a bunch of pilgrims into the expanse. you can imigine our surprise when we discovered it had unloaded a bunch of luggage and Hab materials. We think the handler was somehow subverted by the Genestealers and had the wrong creates offloaded. we chased after the transport and caught up with it here. The captain was panicked. the creatures were loose onboard and the pilgrims and crew were trying to fight them off. while friends and family members were going crazy and attacking them and dragging them off. We landed boarding parties in hopes of recapturing the beasts. they ended up in a fire fight in the macrocannon shell storage room. as you can see that did not go well. it blew out the nearside of the ship and threw to the storage room on the other side of the ship and set it off too. we think there may be some pilgrims and crew still alive over there and we are sure some of the creatures are still alive. we lost contact with the last catch party we sent in. we don't have any more catch personnel. we have sent back for more, but so no one has arrived. we couldn't let them infect your ship and spread to Emperor only knows where. and more importantly we couldn't lose what's left of our cargo. so we had to stop anyone from letting them get off that hulk." Lain explained.
"And if we were to help you recapture these creatures? what's in it for me?" Blade asked.
"You would have the thanks of the beast house and maybe some future contracts. I don't know an exact price, but there would be a substantial reward for helping." Lain responded eagerly.
Thinking for a moment. Blade responded. "here's what I'm offering. I'll let you keep the Raider thats in the best shape. I'll take half of it's crew to replace losses in my crew and the ships i'm keeping. all the officers from those three will be transferred to that ship. any surviving crew or pilgrims from the transport i keep. I'll help you catch your creatures and put them back in their cages, to carry where ever. and you put in a good word for me with your bosses. I also claim salvage rights on the transport. I don't think you really want to hear option two." He smiled and waited for a response.
"Not exactly what i had hoped for." Lain said sourly "But do i have a choice. I'm guessing option two is to boot me and my officers out an airlock and do what you want. We'll take it."
chapter 7: rescuing refugees and wrangling xenos.
Blade called Commander Lain and his companions in to make plans for the rescue and capture. he had a basic plan but needed to haller out the details.
"Commander Lain has informed me that he has some specialized equipment for capturing the xenos alive. since the says that the entire crew of that wreck could have been subverted. he seems to think that there will be only a limited number of the xenos, but the humans will defend them to the death. there are also several beasts roaming around over there. we don't know exactly which kinds at this time. I have already went over different parts of this operation with each of you and will let each of you explain your parts to the rest. Ross would you like to start?" Blade asked.
"Not really, but the first of the plan is rather simple. We divide and conquer. since the ship already has a massive hole through the middle we are going to use lance fire to cut it in half. that way one side can't reinforce the other. after that i will be organizing out light craft to transport troops, refugees and captures to the right ships. we will use one of the raiders as a processing center. i don't anticipate too many problems on my end. Galen?" Ross explained.
"Well me and Lain have come up with a plan. we capture everything. human beast or xeno. doesn't matter, we bag it. we have the small craft to lift about a thousand men over. we'll hit the bow first. it won't have any power and should be fairly quick. working with active scans from the Fortune we should be able to clear it quickly. the stern will be harder. her drive is still active. that gives them power and the stern is more complex than the bow. we will be voiding the air in the compartments as we clear them. It'll keep them from coming in behind us. if all goes well it should go off without a hitch. who's next?" Galen asked.
"I suppose that would be me." Tallus said. "I personally will be helping with the assault but my men will descend on the bow as soon as it's cleared and start to strip away hull plates and components to help with repairs to out new ships. the same with the stern when we get that cleared. shouldn't be too much trouble if master Galen is successful."
"Not much i can do, i figured I'd stick with The rest of you and be an extra gun. i'm a bit out of my depth here, get me to a station though and i can offload the salvage." Leah said.
"I'll be doing the same." Blade responded. "I've found the best leaders know the strengths of their people and choose who's best to lead. well now we know what we are doing lets get it done."
a few hours later Ross had lined up his shot on the transport. "Firing lances now." he said and the lights dimmed as the massive weapons fired. hull plating flew from the transport as the top section holding the bow and stern together was hit. it held for three more hits before it finally broke loose. switching to the lower section it took even less. leaving the bridge Ross went to find his friends in the boat bay.
Blade looked around at his companions and the stormtroopers in the thunderhawk. the troopers weren't happy about being issued new non-letal weapons. many were not comfortable with the webberguns. for that matter neither was Blade. the landing zone had been cleared it would be a safe landing, but Galen would be leading them into the deeper holds. landing Blade looked around. a warrant officer came jogging up. "Sir we have transmissions from what we think are survivors."
"Any idea where they are?" Blade asked.
"The upper decks we think, there are heat signatures all over the place. the fortune says some of them are fading but this section is crawling with life signs." he responded.
"Think we can get to them Galen?" Blade asked. "We could use the extra crew."
"I don't know. the plan was to sweep through and clear it room by room. I think a small party might be able to punch through. they might get cut off for a while though." Galen answered.
"We could really use those people. our raiders are going to be stuck here for weeks the more manpower we have the faster repairs will go. But if it's too dangerous i'm not going to risk men just to lose them all before i can get to them." Blade said.
"Lets try it. even if we get cut off, it won't be for long. we could also make for the hull and cut through." Galen said.
They set off down a passage leading to the higher decks. a squad of troopers backing up the companions. Tallus's massive servitor, now named Bob, leading the way. slipping along the group heard the sounds of fighting and howls of strange beasts roaming the halls. at first they could hear the catch teams clashing with monsters. the sounds of bologuns and webbers firing and human and inhuman screams. this was soon left behind as they moved away from the "safety" of the landing zone.